(NEW YORK) — A civilian lawyer who represented Nidal Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist sentenced to death for the murders of 13 people and who fought to wear a beard during his trial in keeping with his Muslim faith, said he plans to sue the military after his client was forcibly shaved upon arrival at the military brig in Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.
“Forcibly shaving him after a military council approved the beard for the duration of the trial smacks of retaliation by Army officials. This was a vindictive act,” Hasan’s former civilian lawyer John Galligan told ABC News on Wednesday.
No recent photos of Hasan have been released and few details of the incident have come out of the U.S. Detention Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, home of the military’s death row.
However, authorities tell ABC News that per military regulations, a videotape of the forced shaving exists.
Galligan said he would first consult with other attorneys and then likely file a federal lawsuit.
Hasan killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others in a 2009 shooting rampage at Ft. Hood, Texas. In the months following the shooting, he grew a beard, a violation of military regulations, and a decision that led to weeks of delays in his trial.
He was convicted last month by a jury of Army officers, and this weekend he was transported to Ft. Leavenworth.
In keeping with military protocol, “Inmate Hasan has been shaved,” Army spokesman Lt. Col. S. Justin Platt said in a statement.
Platt provided no details as to how or when Hasan was shaved. The former major was paralyzed and is wheelchair bound after being shot by police to stop his rampage.
The Army does not provide photographs of inmates, Platt said.
In the early days of Hasan’s trial, military judge Col. Gregory Gross ordered Hasan shaved. That decision led to a lengthy appeals process in which Hasan was ultimately allowed to keep his beard for the remainder of the trial and Gross was dismissed from the case.
Col. Tara Osborn, who replaced Gross, allowed Hasan to keep the beard during the trial.
Hasan was unanimously convicted last month. He is one of a handful of prisoners on the military’s death row. The road to execution in the military is lengthy, and a soldier has not been put to death in more than three decades.
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